Leonardo da Vinci, ‘Compositional Sketches for the Virgin Adoring the Christ Child, with and without the Infant St. John the Baptist; Diagram of a Perspectival Projection (recto); Slight Doodles (verso)’, 1480–1485, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Image rights: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Rogers Fund, 1917), licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal

About Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is one of the foremost artists in the history of Western art, famed for painting the Mona Lisa (ca. 1503-6), and for his meticulous, dynamic drawings of various mechanical devices, animals, and imagined machines, as well as his portraits and writings on art and science. A founding father of the High Renaissance style, he is admired for his virtuosity as a painter and draughtsman in the handling of space, depiction of light and shadow, and expert use of sfumato, in which tones and colors shade gradually into one, producing softened outlines. Although few works seem to have been finished, and even fewer survive, Leonardo’s writings and sketchbooks offer glimpses into the life of an ingenious polymath. “Painting,” he wrote, “is poetry that is seen rather than felt.”

Italian, 1452-1519, Anchiano, Italy, based in Clos Lucé, Amboise, France

Solo Shows

New Haven ,
Leonardo: Discoveries from Verrocchio’s Studio